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Is Dairy Farming Intensive or Extensive?

Dairy farming in the United States is a multi-billion dollar per year industry with the largest concentration of dairy farms in California, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, and New York. This makes the United States the second largest producer of cow’s milk in the world and a major player in the global exportation of milk. With such a massive scope of product being produced across the country, just how big are dairy farms? Do dairy farms need a large amount of land to produce a high yield of milk? At Sun Farmer’s Group, we’ve seen just about every farm imaginable, including both intensive and extensive operations. In this article, we will discuss the difference between intensive and extensive farming, which side of the coin dairy farms are on, and how solar energy can potentially play a role in the future of dairy farming. 

What is Extensive Farming?

Extensive farming is a style of farming that requires lots of land and open space, often in the most rural areas of the country. This farming type uses less capital and less machinery to sustain itself, often leveraging the natural environment and local soil conditions to the farmer’s advantage so that less human intervention is necessary for the success of the farm. One example of extensive farming is ranching. Farmers on ranches use a wide open area of land to raise a variety of grazing animals, such as cattle and goats. In this style of farming, the farmers help maintain the land itself with minimal help from machines so that their animals can sustain themselves. The animals are usually free to roam during the day and graze off the land. Ranching farmers will make their money by selling their animals for meat, hides, or other purposes. Some ranchers will even be completely self-sustaining, feeding themselves and their families with only what they raise on their land. 

What is Intensive Farming?

Intensive farming is a different kind of farming that requires less space and focuses specifically on making a smaller area of land as productive as possible. In intensive farming, farmers inject a high amount of capital into a smaller scale production to maximize their output. An example of intensive farming is hog farming. Hogs are often raised in close quarters inside a barn with industrial machinery to keep the pigs at a comfortable temperature and healthy until they are ready for slaughter. It is common to see intensive farming operations closer to urban areas as they require less space to be successful. Do you want to learn more about the future of hog farming? Read about it in this article!

Dairy Farming Can be Intensive or Extensive

At its core, dairy farming is the practice of raising cows with the intention of using their milk for personal consumption or for sale. In its most traditional state, dairy farming was and is still today an extensive practice. Ranchers and farmers who have free-roaming cows use their milk to feed their families or to sell in small batches to consumers who prefer a local or high-end product. However, the vast majority of dairy farming done in the United States is intensive in nature. Farmers usually keep their cows in large barns close together and machines are attached to their utters to extract their milk. Mechanizing these steps allows farmers to hit a much higher product yield and increase the profitability of their farm without needing to purchase more land. 

How Dairy Farmers Can Use Solar to Save Money

With most dairy farms being intensive, they use a tremendous amount of energy to keep their cattle comfortable and to ensure daily operations run smoothly. According to the DSO Electric Cooperative, the average dairy farm in the U.S. consumes between 800 and 1,200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per cow annually. The equipment used for producing milk as well as the heating and ventilation rigging are among the biggest offenders for energy consumption on a modern-day dairy farm. The worst part is that energy prices have continuously risen in past years, leaving farmers with no other choice but to pay the expensive bill in the mail. Now, installing solar energy on a farm is easier than ever and can cut production costs for farmers drastically and can eventually eliminate their power bill altogether.

The Sun Farmer’s Group Difference

Sun Farmer’s Group is the first true turnkey solution for agricultural solar energy. Our proprietary program has brought all of the in-house expertise to the table in grant writing, financing, tax credit monetization, installation, and so much more. Unlike other companies, Sun Farmer’s Group empowers farmers with a no-money down solution that greatly reduces and eventually eliminates your power bill altogether. The future of dairy farming is as bright as the sun, and we’ll help you turn it into power!

Get In Touch

If you’re ready to learn more about how Sun Farmer’s Group can help you put more money in your pocket, call 877-417-3222 today! 

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